Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Paper: Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
Date: March 10, 1994
Polly Klaas' father and grandfather called California's new anti-crime law a politically motivated mistake and urged Gov. Pete Wilson to sign a rival bill to replace it.

Speaking on behalf of the Polly Klaas Foundation, Marc and Joseph Klaas told a Capitol press conference Wednesday that the new law costs too much, penalizes nonviolent felons too severely and is not tough enough on violent criminals like Richard Allen Davis, accused of kidnapping and killing the 13- year-old Petaluma girl.

"The Polly Klaas Foundation is not interested in spending $15 billion to
put burglars away for life," said Joe Klaas, Polly's grandfather.

The new law calls for a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for any conviction on a third felony charge if the prior two convictions were for
violent or serious felonies.

As an alternative, the Klaases urged Wilson to sign a bill by Assemblyman Richard Rainey, R-Walnut Creek, that would exclude nonviolent felonies such as burglary - thus saving an estimated 70 percent of the $21 billion in prison construction costs anticipated by 2027 because of the new law.

They added that the Rainey bill is tougher on third-time violent felons
because it would put them away for life without the possibility of parole, instead of a minimum of 20 years without parole under the new law, which was written by Assemblyman Bill Jones, R-Fresno.

The Klaases' statements marked an odd turn because it was Polly's slaying, allegedly by career criminal Davis, that caused the public outrage that led to the speedy passage of "three strikes."

Joe Klaas said that he was acquainted with a young man who had two teen- age burglary convictions before straightening out and that he did not want his friend put away for life if he ever passed a bad check. "The governor's use of Polly's name to pass (Assembly Bill) 971 is a cynical act," he said.

Marc Klaas, Polly's father, was less critical of Wilson, although he answered "yes, sir" when a reporter asked if he believed that the governor had signed the Jones bill for political reasons.

"I was very, very moved when he spoke at Polly's service," said Marc. ''I think the governor's a fine man. I just want him to consider signing the Rainey bill."

Wilson's press secretary, Sean Walsh, said the governor had not signed the bill for political motivations but had been a consistent advocate of anti- crime legislation during his three years in office.
Copyright (c) 1994 Daily News of Los Angeles

Author: Vlae Kersher San Francisco Chronicle
Section: NEWS
Page: N8
Copyright (c) 1994 Daily News of Los Angeles

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